Offshore sportsbook 5Dimes will freeze its US operations later this month, telling customers it plans to relaunch with a “fresh start.”
The Costa Rica-based outfit will stop taking bets from US customers at 12 am ET on September 21.
By early Monday evening, the following greeted customers in the US trying to log into the site:
One prominent gaming analyst hinted at the news earlier Monday in a since-deleted tweet:
In a somewhat vague email to customers reviewed by LSR, 5Dimes said it was embarking on a “new business venture.”
“With the evolving legal landscape in the United States, we want to take advantage of the opportunity to offer an improved online sports betting experience to our many US customers,” the email reads. “In order to do this, we need to suspend temporarily our service of the US market so that we can launch our new operations with a fresh start.
What happens next for 5Dimes?
Customers have until September 25 to claim balances. After that date, funds will be transferred to a third-party administrator, who will try and return them to account holders.
A 5Dimes representative declined to provide further details on the business plans when asked by LSR. However, the email seems to suggest the sportsbook could aim to transition to the regulated US sports betting market – whether out of choice or legal pressure.
The email continues:
“We wish we could tell you everything about our future plans, but for now, please stay tuned and know we will soon reward your loyalty with extraordinary gaming experiences.”
Licensing longshot in US sports betting market?
Any transition is also dependent on 5Dimes getting licensed in the legal market. That would be up to each state and might be a longshot, based on how regulators have treated other black-market operators who have operated illegally in the United States.
New Jersey regulators repeatedly have warned offshores operating illegally in the Garden State. They also have leaned on regulated books like FanDuel Sportsbook to discourage the use of offshore sportsbooks.
5Dimes was established in San Jose, Costa Rica, and launched its first online casino in November 1996. Owner “Tony” Creighton went missing last year and was ultimately found dead by authorities in Costa Rica.
Offshores seeing opportunity or fearing the worst?
The sudden switch also reflects the growing pressure on the offshore market as regulated US sports betting expands. Last year Bovada and BetOnline stopped taking bets from New Jersey residents.
BetCris recently signed a deal with Major League Baseball for promotion of its operation in Latin America. The offshore book appears interested in cleaning up its name with the US market after abruptly closing up shop following the passage of UIGEA in 2006.
Of course, offshore books still maintain an important role in setting early lines for books throughout the world. But it remains to be seen where 5Dimes will fit in the market going forward.